Major League Baseball’s (MLB) decision to move the 2021 All Star Game out of Atlanta in response to Georgia’s voter integrity law could greatly cost the city’s black-owned businesses, numerous sources reported.
The “estimated lost economic impact” Georgia will face without the MLB’s game is more than $100 million, Holly Quinlan, president and CEO of Cobb Travel and Tourism, told CNN on Friday.
Black-owned businesses in Atlanta could acutely feel the revenue loss. Nearly 30% of Atlanta’s businesses are black-owned, landing it the fifth-place spot on career resource website Overheard on Conference Call’s ranking of “Best Cities for Black-Owned Business in 2021.”
Savannah, where 23% of businesses are black owned, was the 20th best city in the ranking, Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in February.
MLB intended to play the exhibition game at the Atlanta Braves’ Truist Park, but moved the location due to the new voter laws which are aimed to curb alleged voter fraud. Among other things, the law requires voters to provide a photo ID when they submit an absentee ballot.
“Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views. I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.
— Ed O’Keefe (@edokeefe) April 2, 2021
President Joe Biden called on the league to move the game out of Georgia over the new voter law. Democratic Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff said Friday that he would not support the MLB’s decision, and suggested that corporations express their opposition to the new law by ending financial support to Georgia’s Republican Party.
“I absolutely oppose and reject any notion of boycotting Georgia,” Ossoff said. “Georgia welcomes business, investment, jobs, opportunity and events. In fact, economic growth is driving much of the political progress we have seen here.”
Voting rights activist and former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams also advised companies against boycotts due to the significant impact they could have on minority communities. (RELATED: Stacey Abrams: ‘Please Do Not Boycott Us’ Over Election Law In Georgia)
“I understand the passion of those calling for boycotts of Georgia following the passage of SB 202,” Abrams said. “Boycotts have been an important tool throughout our history to achieve social change.”
As a Black person, a Southerner, and an American, I respect and defend the right to boycott. But the communities most targeted by #SB202 would be most hurt by a boycott of Georgia. Bring your business to Georgia and, if you’re already here, stay and fight. Stay and vote. #gapol
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) March 31, 2021
“But here’s the thing. Black, Latino, AAPI, and Native American voters whose votes are the most suppressed under SB 202 are also the most likely to be hurt by potential boycotts of Georgia. To our friends across the country, please do not boycott us,” Abrams pleaded.
Delta and Coca-Cola, two of the largest Atlanta-based companies, have also criticized the new law.